This article was updated on December 21, 2023
Holland & Hart constitutional law partner Jessica Smith shared insights with several media outlets on takeaways from the Colorado Supreme Court’s recent majority decision disqualifying former President Donald J. Trump from being listed as a candidate on the 2024 presidential primary ballot in Colorado. The Court stayed its ruling until January 4, 2024, subject to any further appellate proceedings.
In an interview with 9NEWS, Smith discussed the federal questions the US Supreme Court may review on appeal, saying, “There are a lot of federal questions. There’s the question of whether or not the political question doctrine bars this entire suit. There's the question of whether or not the presidency and the president is an office or officer of the United States under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. There's the question of whether or not he engaged in insurrection. There’s the question of whether or not the First Amendment protects his speech. All of those are federal questions the U.S. Supreme Court can reach.”
In an in-studio interview with 9NEWS, she added, "There is also with the kind of interesting question that runs throughout the entire Colorado Supreme Court opinion, including some of the dissents, about whether or not our election code, and the expedited procedures in the election code, afforded former President Trump’s sufficient due process for the purposes of his constitutional right to due process." Smith went on to say, "What's really important about these issues is that there are real world consequences. There are things that matter to issues that are foundational to our country."
In an interview with Colorado Public Radio (CPR), Smith noted it was likely the US Supreme Court would overturn the ruling, saying "Once there, President Trump is facing a much more favorable cast of Justices, with the conservative majority very likely to agree with at least some of what he intends to argue."
Smith also told CPR that, “The Colorado Supreme Court has the final say on all state law questions, meaning that its interpretation of the Colorado election code is now the law in Colorado.” Adding, “This includes its conclusions that the election code allows electors to challenge whether a candidate is qualified to appear on Colorado ballots and that courts have the power to hear those challenges.”
Watch and read the 9NEWS interviews here:
"Constitutional expert analyzes whether Trump will remain on Colorado primary ballot," December 20, 2023
“Colorado Supreme Court decides Trump is not allowed on the state primary ballot,” December 19, 2023.
Read the CPR News articles here:
"Colorado voters weigh in on Trump ballot ruling as experts closely follow a rare legal journey," December 20, 2023
"Republicans decry ruling disqualifying Trump from Colorado’s primary ballot,” December 20, 2023.